Kids in Transition to School (KITS®)

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

The Kids in Transition to School (KITS®) foster care program began with a 5-year randomized efficacy trial of a preventive intervention to enhance psychosocial and academic school readiness in foster children as they enter school.

Project Overview

Visit the Kids in Transition to School (KITS®) website for more information.

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The Kids in Transition to School (KITS®) Program, is a short-term, targeted, evidence-based OSLC intervention that helps children at high risk for school difficulties to be better prepared for school both socially and academically. OSLC conducted a randomized efficacy trial of KITS 2005-2010 and a follow-up study 2010-2015.

KITS is designed to enhance psychosocial and academic school readiness using a two-pronged approach: 1) a 24-session school readiness group focused on promoting social-emotional skills and early literacy in children, and 2) a 12-session parent workshop focused on promoting parent involvement in early literacy and the use of positive parenting practices. The manualized KITS curriculum is delivered during the two months before and the first two months of kindergarten.

Based on research spanning 10 years and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Child Health and Development, and a number of foundations, the KITS Program has been shown to positively affect the school readiness skills of children in foster care, those with developmental disabilities and delays, and children from impoverished backgrounds. The program has been implemented in multiple school districts and communities in Oregon. Parent workshop materials are also available in Spanish. If you are interested in implementing KITS in your school district or community, please contact Katherine Pears, Ph.D.

Year Project Began: 2005
Year Project Completed: 2010
Funder: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Principal Investigator

Katherine C. Pears, Ph.D.

Science Director
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Pears studies a number of early childhood predictors of behavioral and social problems with the goal of developing preventive interventions. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of early adverse circumstances (including maltreatment and poverty) on children’s social and academic development. She has studied the school readiness skills and early school adjustment of high-risk children with a particular focus on self-regulatory skills. Additionally, Dr. Pears has examined longer term indicators of school adjustment in children at risk for poor school outcomes, including how school adjustment is transmitted from one generation to the next. She has translated this research into an intervention to improve the school readiness skills of children at high risk for poor academic and social adjustment: the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program ( She is the principal investigator on three randomized efficacy trials of the KITS Program including maltreated children in foster care, children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral or social problems, and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Project Updates

KITS named a “Bright Spot” by the campaign for Grade-Level Reading - August 29, 2014

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

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